We are experiencing the greatest transformation in human history, supported by two major revolutions:
1. Technological revolution: resulting from the exponential evolution of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence and Permanent Connectivity;
2. Biological revolution: Based on advances in biology and neuroscience.
The so-called 4th Industrial Revolution: Based on the use of cyber physical systems (CPS), constituting a physical, biological and digital convergence. Today’s business transformation is accelerating and more intense, as a result of the arrival of new entrants, new technologies and a constant production of applied knowledge on the markets. This has created pressure on companies considered to be more “traditional”, forcing them to move towards transformation that aims to provide them with the necessary skills to navigate this new reality.
The coming years will be decisive in changing business models and in the way of operating in the market. The great challenges are:
1. Know how to manage complexity and ambiguity, which will be the biggest impact factor in the way we will work over the next 10 years;
2. Learning cycles will be shorter and increasingly important for survival and success and therefore information management gains additional importance.
In order to face this reality, 5 scenarios must be placed on the management agenda and their direct and indirect impacts on business must be measured. They are: (Source: “Workforce of Future 2019” report, PWC):
1. Technological Breakthroughs: Advances in information technology. Automation, robotics and artificial intelligence are already changing the nature and number of jobs available. Technology has the power to improve quality of life, increase productivity, life expectancy and free people to focus on non-operational functions. But this phenomenon also brings threats at the social, political and economic level if the balance is not reached in these changes.
2. Demographic Changes: Change in the size, distribution and age profile of the world population. With some regional exceptions, the population is aging, putting pressure on businesses, institutions and the economy itself. Life expectancy will affect business models, ambitions and pension costs. Older workers will need new skills to work longer. Lifelong Learning will be the norm. The lack of human labor in several rapidly aging economies will drive the need for automation and productivity improvements.
3. Rapid urbanization: Significant increase in the world population moving to cities. By 2030, the UN projects that 4.9 billion people will be urban and by 2050 the world's urban population will increase by 72%. Today, most large cities already have higher growth rates than a large part of the average countries. In this new world, cities will be important agents for job creation.
4. Changes in global economic power: Change of power between developed and developing countries. Rapidly developing nations, particularly those with a large working-age population, that adopt a business spirit, are able to attract investment and improve their education are the most successful. Emerging countries face the biggest challenge as technology widens the chasm with the developed world; unemployment and migration will continue to be rampant without significant and sustained investment. Erosion of the middle class, wealth gap and job loss due to large-scale automation will increase the risk of social unrest in developed countries.
5. Shortage of resources and climate change: Depleted fossil fuels, extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels and water shortages. Demand for energy and water is expected to increase by 50% and 40% respectively by 2030. Further work on alternative energy, process engineering, product design and waste management will be needed to manage and reuse waste to address these needs. Traditional energy industries and the millions of people employed by them will undergo rapid restructuring.
This means that there is an urgent need for a change movement to face these new scenarios, defining, according to our characteristics and competences, which scenario (s) best suits our business. But we can’t just define and record it on paper without taking the right steps to structure the company in the right way; and this structure includes training, relearning of our employees to take advantage of automation and the power of technology.
It is in this scenario that we define the 4 strategic axes of management, to be adopted by all who see the future. Are they:
1. People: Leaders present who guide and closely monitor the development and performance of their followers; Employees with a high capacity to adapt to the new and who quickly reinvent themselves; People engaged with purpose and with a passion for what they do;
2. Technologies: Technological solutions aligned to the needs of businesses, markets and customers; IoE | Internet of Everything — everything connected all the time: people — machines; machines — machines; people — people; EaaS | Everything as a Service — high availability of subscription solutions; Connectivity, mobility and digitization to facilitate access and sharing; Technological dynamism aligned with the speed of the 4th industrial revolution. Agile and modular teams that adjust according to the defined strategic path; The group is above the individual.
3. Information (date): Information and knowledge management (date) as the greatest asset (asset) of the business; Constant updating of information levels on the value chain to act in real time (realtime); Diversification of information sources for greater knowledge strength; Matrix availability of information so that everyone can access it and act with the same level of knowledge; Permanent training based on updated information.
4. Platform / Ecosystem: Construction of integrated management ecosystems for better delivery and differentiation in the market; Adoption of systems that adjust to the context of customers and other players; Integration of functions with transition to a business system with a minimum of silos — from outside to inside; Platforms capable of incorporating people and technologies, automating processes; Digital centering as a speed axis.
These are some of the ingredients that should be on the agenda, head and meetings of managers concerned with the success and continuity of their business.